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Menna v. New York

Case Name
Menna v. New York
423 U.S. 61
Unanimous Decision
Authoring Judge
Per Curium
Judge(s) - Majority
Potter Stewart, Byron White, Thurgood Marshall, Harry Blackmun, Lewis Powell
Judge(s) - Concur
William Brennan
Judge(s) - Dissent
Warren Burger, William Rehnquist
U.S. Supreme Court
On Review From
New York Court of Appeals
Decision Year


A defendant granted immunity refused to answer questions before a grand jury investigating a murder conspiracy. After he refused to obey a court order mandating his return to testify before the same grand jury, defendant was held in contempt of court. Defendant served a thirty-day term in jail. He was then indicted for his refusal to answer questions before the grand jury. Though he pleaded guilty, defendant appealed his sentence, claiming that the Double Jeopardy Clause precluded his being haled into court. The Court agreed. Defendant had not waived his double jeopardy claim by pleading guilty. The Court must set aside the conviction because the State forced defendant into court even though it was precluded by the United States Constitution. The Court remanded the case for a determination of the double jeopardy claim on the merits.

Key Quote

“Where the State is precluded by the United States Constitution from haling a defendant into court on a charge, federal law requires that a conviction on that charge be set aside even if the conviction was entered pursuant to a counseled plea of guilty.” p.62